Sridhar Ramaswamy has been Senior Vice President of Google’s “Ads & Commerce” division. He was employed by Google in 2003. And has previously been an employee at Bell Communications Research, E-Piphany, and Lucent. During his time, Google used to spend close to 115 Million US Dollars on advertising alone. Seeing this monopoly being generated, he grew cynical that the business he helped build might grow too much one day.
The insistent stress by Google to maintain its growth is actually to the disadvantage of the end-user. When a user searches for something on Google, useful search results are pushed back by the search engine to make space for advertisements. Google also invented the tracking system that oversees its user’s entire browsing history for aiming specific ads at him.
The final nail in the coffin was hit in November 2017 when a couple of really disturbing videos featuring child abuse were aired as ads from eBay, Deutsche Bank, and Adidas. Experts said that the company made millions of dollars in revenue from advertisements that were tempting to pedophiles. These ads were published by Sridhar Ramaswamy himself, back when he was with Google. It was that time of his life when Ramaswamy thought of forming a new company. He said, “I decided to do something better in my life that could benefit the public.”
In about two years, after he left Google, Sridhar Ramaswamy formed “Neeva”, a new search engine that he claims does not show any advertisements to its users, but it will look through the user’s data, besides, to look up information on the web, when a search is initiated. The search engine will be offered as a subscription service rather than being free like Google or Bing. Most companies like Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, and Twitter offer their services for free in exchange for showing ads to their users. Google has ever since reserved its topmost space for ads, pushing the actual search results further down the page. Neeva defies this convention, said Sridhar Ramaswamy.
Serving ads on search results has become rather more refined since the early internet era of the 1990s, but there is a conflict of beneficial interest here, companies are always confused about choosing between serving results that are in the interest of its end-user or in the interest of the company who is paying for the ads.